Principles of Christology

Daniel Migliore, similar to most contemporary theologians, addresses Christology as Christo-centric. For Migliore, the topic is not limited to the study of the person and work of Christ but instead finds that Christ is the focal center, and all knowledge of God is obtained through Christ. The author denotes that “Christology is not the whole of Christian doctrine; rather, it is the point in which all else is illuminated.”[1] Christology must demonstrate Jesus’ centrality and as humankind’s savior in all Christian theological reflection. All theological doctrine must consider and reflect on Jesus Christ, the person, with the basic principle being faith in Him. However, with a shift in time, many Christians in the modern age are uncertain how affirmation about Jesus Christ can be understood. Arising from such challenges, Migliore proposes five Christology principles as a guide to exploring the doctrine of Jesus and His work

First, the author indicates faith in Jesus Christ is knowledge with cognitive content. Faith in Christ is not theoretical or historical. The knowledge concerning faith in Jesus Christ is not mere comprehension of the scriptures; instead, it is a process of trusting Him and being ready to follow Him as the way, truth, and life.[2] The Bible intends not to inform about Jesus the man, noble life, truths, and death, but rather to declare that His life, death, and resurrection are for humankind’s salvation. Second, Jesus Christ and His work cannot be understood to the limited scope of limited individuals or a selected few.[3] Rather, Christ aims to reach all humankind. Jesus is Christ, the fulfillment of God’s covenant, and hence God’s reconciliation love in Christ is directed to ‘me’ and ‘us.’

Third, the doctrine of the person and the work of Christ are insuperable. On one hand, “to know Christ is to know his benefits,” On the other, for one to know Christ’s benefits, one must know who He is.[4] Using the convectional distinction of the person and the work for convenience can be misleading. The person (Jesus) and the work are one and cannot be split. Through narrating the entire Jesus story, his message, ministry passion, and resurrection, people can understand the person and His work. Forth, every comprehension and confession arise of Jesus arises from a particular situation underlined by the necessity to deal with a given need or give hope in a situation.[5] The New Testament contains pluralist Christologies. All these situations Christologies (teachings, glory, and triumph of the resurrected Lord) highlight Jesus as the Lord and savior who is inexhaustibly rich in dealing with all human challenges and experiences.    

Finally, Jesus Christ is greater than the confessions and creed and is supreme to all human reflection of Him. No Christology can claim to exhaust the knowledge of Christ. Christian faith in God is revealed through Christ and not through a certain Christological foundation.

While all the principles are imperative, I find the first and the fifth principles most helpful. While learning the theoretical and historical knowledge of Christ is necessary, it is insignificant unless one trusts Him as the Lord and savior and is ready to follow Him as the way, truth, and life. As the fundamental canon of theological thought, Christological criteria arise out of faith. Only after the fact Christians can understand and speak descriptively and prescriptively about Christ from within the faith. Second, I found the fifth principle helpful, which indicates that Christ’s life is greater than all confession and human theological reflection. The principle eradicates the burden of proposing a particular Christological doctrine as supreme. No doctrine of Christ is absolute and rather quarrel based on the language and conceptuality of various doctrines; the optimal solution is to trust and obey Christ the person and that of the resurrected one. 


Migliore, D. L. (2004). Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (210-218)

[1] Migliore, D. L. (2014). Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (210)

[2] Ibid (215)

[3] Ibid (215)

[4] Migliore, D. L. (2014). Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (216)

[5] Ibid (216)